I've decided my fifth Shapechanger Tales book will be YA. But I'm puzzling over a major problem.

Most comic-book superhero stories are science fantasy (if not outright fantasy). Science is used as a substitute for magic. Peter Parker gets bit by a radioactive spider. Superman's powers come from our "yellow" sun.

But I write science fiction, not science fantasy. My superheroes' powers don't come from magic thinly disguised as science. If someone exerts extraordinary strength they must pay for it in some way. And there are other limits. They don't get something for nothing or almost nothing. They are not so much SUPER human as EXTRA human - ordinary people with a few extraordinary but real abilities added.

So the situations I put them in are realistic, ones you might read about every day in newspapers and newsblogs.

For most western teens this means they live at home under parental supervision. They get their money as an allowance or from working part-time and/or on weekends. They go to school. They have little free time to go about fighting crime. There are no super criminals with super powers or from an alien dimension where mythic gods are real.

So what good are their super/extra powers?